The two sides will be going all-out to secure a place in the playoffs.
And then there were three. Three teams have confirmed their playoffs spots in the Indian Super League, with NorthEast assuring their berth with a comprehensive victory against Kerala Blasters. As the season reaches its crescendo, the final playoffs spot is going to be determined by one match. FC Goa take on Hyderabad FC in a fixture that could make or break their respective seasons.
The premise is very simple. For Juan Ferrando and the Gaurs, they win they go home with third place. They draw it is fourth. Either way, the outcome involves facing either Mumbai City FC or ATK Mohun Bagan, both of whom face each other for the first place later in the day.
For Hyderabad, victory is the only option for vindication of a season that has been revolutionary. The Nizams were pegged to finish in the bottom half of the table, but under Manolo Marquez they have faced every opposition with real vigour. A fourth-placed finish would be just reward for their efforts, but they will have to scale the mountain that is FC Goa on the way.
Brandon Fernandes is the only real doubt for the Gaurs, with there being a chance that he will feature on the bench.
Chinglensana Singh will be a big miss for the Manolo Marquez-led side. The former Gaur has been a vital figure for Hyderabad FC and his red card in the last game came at the wrong time for Hyderabad. Asish Rai will also be absent owing to an injury. In addition, the Nizams will miss Aridane Santana who will remain suspended for the game.
Goa are overwhelming favourites if we take head-to-head statistics into account. The Gaurs have won all three matches against Hyderabad FC since the team marked their entry last season.
The reverse fixture was a tight affair with Hyderabad taking the lead early in the second half. But, a blistering five minutes in the final stages turned the tables as Ishan Pandita and Igor Angulo found the target to give Goa all three points.
FC Goa: Dheeraj (GK); Saviour, Ivan, Donachie, Seriton; Bedia, Princeton; Jesuraj, Tlang, Noguera; Angulo.
Hyderabad FC: Kattimani (GK); Poojary, Onaindia, Victor, Mishra; Chianese, Yasir, Sastre; Colaco, Narzary, Sandaza.
Man to Watch
Alberto Noguera (FC Goa)
The former Atletico Madrid man keeps getting better as the season goes on. With eight assists, the Spaniard leads the charts for that stat and has transformed himself into a capable No.10 behind the terrorizing Igor Angulo. Noguera has been a space-finding machine and his movement creates several problems for defenders.
His inch-perfect passes have also managed to bring out the best of Angulo and Hyderabad will need to find ways to counteract Noguera’s effectiveness. His defensive work-rate and pressing is also a key factor for FC Goa, whose game thrives on high pressure and pouncing on unforced errors from the opposition defence.
Liston Colaco (Hyderabad FC)
The former Gaur has been a revelation for the Nizams since he made the switch from the west coast. This season under Manolo Marquez, he has finally started exhibiting the talent and genius that prompted FC Goa to take a chance on him in the first place. He leads Hyderabad in assists, notching up three during the course of the campaign to go along with two goals as well.
His dribbling has been highly laudable, being able to create space for himself at will. His performance would be key if Hyderabad are to win this match to make the playoffs for the first time.
Did You Know?
- If FC Goa make the top four, they would be taking part in the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons, the most by any team.
- Adil Khan featured for Hyderabad FC during the first half of the season before moving to FC Goa on loan.
- Liston Colaco, Laxmikant Kattimani and Chinglensana Singh would be facing familiar faces on the other side, having played for FC Goa under Sergio Lobera.
The match between FC Goa and Hyderabad FC is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English), Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3 and several other regional languages. Live streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar and Jio TV.